Anakao: a peerless tourist destination in Madagascar
Crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn, Anakao welcomes you in the sumptuous St. Augustin Bay. Wild and picturesque, this Vezo fishing village has nothing to envy of other tourist destinations on the Big Island. What the village lacks in lush vegetation, it makes up for in its beautiful beaches and lagoons, translucent and turquoise waters, and particularly the friendliness of its inhabitants, all making it a charming destination. People who seek tranquility and solitude will certainly like this place!
### A fishing village
####A cosmopolitan village
Located about forty kilometers from Toliara, Anakao runs along the southwest lagoon of the island. The locality gathers several semi-sedentary villages of fishermen, composed mainly Vezo fishermen and Tanala farmers. Its cosmopolitan population is made up of Mahafaly, Masikoro and Merina immigrants. It was a mandatory stopover for sailors traveling in the southern part of the island. During your stay in Madagascar, you will discover the beauty of the Malagasy people.
####An endearing village
What makes this village so captivating, apart from its white sand beaches and beautiful landscapes, is the friendliness of the local inhabitants. The locals live mainly from fishing, farming and tourism. Fishermen use traditional outrigger canoes with square sails. In this village and its surroundings, it is not unusual to come across herds of zebus, goats or sheep. The inhabitants also grow cassava and corn.
####A traditional village
The Vezo and Tanala people attach great importance to the customs and traditions transmitted by their ancestors from generation to generation. Tourism has changed anything in the local cultures: fady (taboos) and prohibitions are still respected. Fishermen traditional huts constitute the charm of the southern part of the village, punctuated with some modern constructions. A large Vezo cemetery is located at the end of the village. Ancestors hold an important place in the inhabitants’ life, as is the case throughout Madagascar. A tomb, 30m long by 6m wide, stands out particularly in the cemetery.
## A seaside area
####A real haven for swimmers and divers
The water’s clarity encourages swimming, especially as the beach is large. Treat yourself to a dive experience in a giant aquarium containing a thousand unique treasures. Multicolored fish, corals and underwater vegetation mingle in turquoise waters… A real delight for the eyes! The reputation of Anakao is built on the discovery of a coelacanth specimen (very rare prehistoric fish) in 1995. It is a must-visit destination when touring Madagascar.
####Two beautiful coral islands
Anakao nestles between two coral islands: Nosy Ve about 5km off the coast, and Nosy Satrana inside the lagoon, 10km away from the village. Both constitute pleasant excursion areas one can access by boat or canoe. Less frequented, these places are ideal for a relaxing day trip. They offer beautiful diving spots for those who want to swim with multicolored fish.
####An enchanting biodiversity
If human presence is now almost non-existent on Nosy Ve, a host of bird species, including tropicbirds and red-tailed phaeton, have built their nests there. Apart from that, it is an excellent viewing area for migrating whales during the southern winter. Nosy Satrana is located a little to the south of Anakao. The island is mainly occupied by herons. Its soil is littered with limestone debris from fossilized eggs of aepyornis (a giant ostrich species). The freshness of the water invites you to take a refreshing bath.
A stay beyond all time limits in another reality
A stay in this typical village allows you to get away from the frenesy of everyday’s life. Landscapes and scenes of life are just enchanting. Among other must-see scenes, do not miss the return of Vezo canoes at sunset. Photography enthusiasts will certainly enjoy capturing the image depicting colorful canoes, slowly approaching the shore under an orange sky.
####Good to know
Slave traffickers, traders and pirates lived on Nosy Ve Island, located about 3km from Anakao, for centuries. France settled there in the 19th century. Signs of their passage are still visible, just to mention the basins of the French residence. Many fady (taboos) must be respected in Nosy Ve. Sacred huts dedicated to "tromba" (cult of possession) nestle there.
Anakao enjoys a pleasant year-round climate. Temperatures vary between 25°C and 29°C. It rains mainly during the months of December, January and February. May, June, July and August are the best times to visit this place. Book your stay in Madagascar at a travel agency during this period.